BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — In 2019, Vanessa Wolfe and her boyfriend were convicted of murder and sentenced to life terms in prison in the death of their 3-month-old daughter, who suffered more than 16 rib fractures, sepsis and a kidney infection.
On Wednesday, Wolfe was back in Kern County Superior Court following a change in the law that allows judges to choose which sentence to impose when a criminal act is punishable by different ways under different provisions of law. Previously, judges were required to impose the provision resulting in the longest term of imprisonment.
Wolfe, serving 25 years to life, could have been resentenced to 15 years to life.
Judge Charles R. Brehmer decided the original term was appropriate.
“This was not a flippant decision,” Brehmer said, adding he had reviewed all filings.
Wolfe sighed. Her attorney, Gary Turnbull, argued his client’s conduct amounted to “grave criminal negligence,” not murder. Prosecutor Gina Pearl did not present an argument after Brehmer told the attorneys his tentative decision was to resentence Wolfe to the original term.
Wolfe and her boyfriend, Eddie Leyva, were arrested after their daughter, Adenalie, was found dead Oct. 30, 2014, at an apartment on L Street. The child had been severely malnourished and dehydrated. Prosecutors said the couple didn’t get her help, allowing her to suffer for weeks as she slowly starved to death.
Leyva’s sentence of 15 years to life was upheld by an appellate court.